8 Alternative Career Options for Engineering Graduates

Engineering skills open up a variety of options for you to dabble in. Here are a few alternative career options for engineering graduates.
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Alternative career option for engineering graduates
Procurement and Purchase
Engineers can find a job in the procurement and purchase department of a company where they are needed to source technical equipment for the company. They take care of the time schedule, quality, logistics, quantity, and vendor management for the company.

Many times, engineering graduates feel the need to look for alternative career options as they want to advance in their careers or pursue other interests. As engineers are adept at troubleshooting and technical knowledge, many MNCs hire them for non-engineering jobs like sales and marketing, supply chain management, operations, governance, etc. While a few of these alternate jobs require further education, there are some wherein your work experience will matter the most. For example, in order to pursue a career in patent law, you will have to undertake legal studies. However, you may become a consultant after you have gained considerable experience. Here is a list of alternative career options for engineering graduates.


Join the Engineering Faculty

After you complete your engineering, if you are interested in becoming a faculty member at a renowned engineering university or college, you will have to complete a doctoral program. Pursuing a postdoctoral program will also work towards your advantage. During your student years, try to get the post of a teaching assistant. Apart from this, as you will be interacting with the students on a one-on-one basis, you will have to hone your communication skills. Restricting your knowledge merely to textbooks will not help you. You must be aware about the various developments in the field of engineering. Try to apply to as many teaching jobs as you can for landing the right profile. Also, you must encourage and inspire students to undertake world-class engineering and innovation.

Become an Entrepreneur

If you are ready to digress from the beaten path of doing an engineering job, pursue entrepreneurship. A few years back, who would have thought that computer programmer and Internet entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg would become a billionaire. But he founded Facebook, a terrific Internet innovation, and rest is history. Similarly, if you have good entrepreneurial ideas, you can go ahead and start your own business. All you need is a click-able idea, a foolproof business plan, and some investors for funding. Today, many crowdfunding websites allow entrepreneurs with great ideas to get the necessary funds. Such fundraising activities also lead to publicity for your product. Remember, by being an engineer, you can create something innovative that can be path-breaking in this field.

Work as a Consultant

There are many engineering conglomerates who are looking at hiring consultants who will guide them in the technical aspects of the business. This may include scouting a place for a new plant, sourcing and installation of plant machinery, looking after the commissioning of the equipment, raw material composition, etc. You need to have a considerable technical experience before companies will hire you for your expertise. Also, you must possess knowledge about the technology standards and accreditation. For example, if a company is looking forward to install eco-friendly equipment that will bring down its carbon footprint drastically, you must be in a position to suggest the necessary options. Apart from technical knowledge, you must also have strong research, analysis, and troubleshooting skills. Consultants are paid excellently, and you may have to interact with the senior management on a daily basis.

Be a Recruitment Specialist

There are many engineers who become a part of the recruitment team of multinationals. The job of these engineers includes interviewing the right candidates for the company by judging their technical and organizational knowledge. Engineers with a specialization in HR or management will be preferred for this job. They may also look at the years of your work experience before allowing you to take recruitment decisions for the company. It is important that you have strong communication, interviewing, analytical, and management skills to choose the best out of the lot. It is expected that you have strong technical knowledge and are able to judge a prospective employee's technical know-how. This kind of job is full of responsibility and often results in an excellent pay.

Become a Patent Attorney

Many engineering companies and engineers file for patents every year. For this, they need the help of a patent attorney who will prepare their patent application according to the specifications. Such an attorney has complete knowledge about the rules and regulations of the patent office and its guidelines. It is a very interesting field, if you have an inclination towards pursuing a career in law. Also, as you will be dealing with the inventors of innovations, your engineering knowledge will get utilized. You will have to pursue further education in intellectual property law programs and specialize in patent law. However, remember that it is mandatory to register yourself as a patent attorney with the USPTO, otherwise you will not be eligible to practice. You can either work for a legal firm or practice on your own.

Be a Technical Writer

You can work as a technical writer and write on a number of technological-driven subjects. Due to the increase in technical drafting requirement of companies, there are many organizations that hire professional technical writers. In most cases, the company that will hire you will provide you with the necessary training. If you have pursued a program in technical writing after your engineering, it will be an added advantage. Also, if you are an introvert, making a career as a technical writer can be a good career option for you. You should be good at meeting deadlines and achieving targets for this job. Although it is a creative and interesting career opportunity, it may not be as lucrative as your engineering career.

Work as a Trainer

Many companies require engineers to explain the technical aspects of a product to their customers, dealers, and employees. This may also include handling, installation, storage, and maintenance of the equipment. At times, you may also require to travel to the customer's or dealer's place to demonstrate to them about the working of the equipment. You may also contribute in the designing of a technical manual for the equipment. Apart from this, you may be required to undertake product-based presentations from time to time. You must possess in-depth knowledge about the product so that you can answer others' queries promptly. You will also have to interact with people at all managerial levels and hence, possess the confidence to communicate with them. You will have to be abreast with the latest technological breakthroughs in the market.

Many engineering graduates who are adept in foreign languages also work as interpreters and translators for engineering conglomerates. There are graduates who pursue programs in green engineering and sustainability work for companies who give importance to these. Many also join R&D departments and work strictly for innovation and new product development. Now that you know the alternative careers, hopefully you will be able to land an opportunity in a field that interests you the most.
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Published: March 19, 2014
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